Implementing land reform in post-Communist Romania
This thesis examines the implementation of ownership reforms following the collapse of Communist rule in Romania in 1989. It concentrates upon the rural sector and, in particular, the question of what to do with the collective farms. The aim has been to provide a critical account of the roots of the post-Communist land question, going back as far as the agrarian situation in the last century. To this end, regard is had to the land question in the pre-Communist era, concentrating on the efforts made by the state to create a sustainable system of land tenure. The second part of the work investigates how the Communist regime reformed land use and agricultural production, in particular, the methods by which the private control of land was transformed during collectivisation. In this way, the recent land reforms are linked to a much longer history of struggle over land. The objective has been to examine the legal process of implementing post-Communist land reforms as a means whereby history is rewritten, both nationally and locally. The land reforms are, partly, the official recognition of abuses committed by the former regime and yet, they are also a means of restructuring the country's agricultural sector. As in other countries in eastern Europe, Communist rule in Romania transformed a predominantly agrarian society into an industrial one. Before the Communists almost three-quarters of the population lived and worked on the land. By the time President Nicolae Ceausescu fell, the proportion was less than a third. The land question in post-Communist Romania centred on the extent to which the need to compensate former landowners could direct the content of reform.